Judge dismisses claims of political activist alleging police assault and false detainment

Judge dismisses claims of political activist alleging police assault and false detainment

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Supreme Court judge has dismissed claims brought by outspoken political activist Omar Archer Sr, who alleged that he was unlawfully arrested, assaulted, and falsely imprisoned by police nearly six years ago.

Senior Justice Deborah Fraser, in a ruling dated February 9, dismissed Archer’s claims, stating that he was not entitled to any damages as he failed to prove any of the allegations he made.

Archer asserted that on April 7, 2018, he was wrongfully arrested by police at an event at Smuggler’s Square, where he was verbally threatened, intimidated, and physically assaulted. He further alleged that he was wrongfully detained for several hours by police, during which time he requested an ambulance to examine his leg. According to Archer, he sustained a fractured fibula and tibia to his right leg due to the assault and battery by the police officers.

Additionally, Archer claimed that on April 12, 2018, he was maliciously and without probable cause charged and formally arraigned before a Magistrate with disorderly behavior, resisting arrest, use of obscene language, and assaulting a police officer. The trial purportedly occurred on May 9, 2018, and was subsequently dismissed for want of prosecution on March 7, 2019.

“I found his evidence inconsistent and somewhat difficult to follow. I did not find him to be a reliable witness. At certain junctures, he appeared to contradict his own evidence. I also found Mr Archer to be quite combative during cross-examination. He avoided answering questions and even sought to be cantankerous at certain points,” ruled Senior Justice Fraser.

Police had reportedly attempted to de-escalate the verbal altercation between Archer and the disc jockey at the event. The judge held the view that Archer became verbally abusive and initiated the ensuing physical altercation between himself and police officers.

“Based on my findings of fact, I am not satisfied that any officer committed any assault or battery against Mr. Archer,” ruled Senior Justice Fraser. 

Archer reportedly became belligerent after being approached by police, grabbed an officer’s arm, and used obscene language. The judge held the view that police had no choice but to defend themselves in order to subdue Archer. 

“I do not see how there could be any reasonable fear of harm when one initiated a physical brawl,” the judge stated, adding that any injury inflicted on Archer was a direct consequence of his actions.